VATICAN CITY —
By NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press/AP Exhange
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI hit the 1 million Twitter follower mark on Wednesday as he sent his first tweet from his new account, blessing his online fans and urging them to listen to Christ.
In perhaps the most drawn out Twitter launch ever, the 85-year-old Benedict tapped the screen of a tablet brought to him at the end of his general audience after the equivalent of a papal drum roll by an announcer who intoned: “And now the pope will tweet!”
“Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart,” the inaugural tweet read.
At around the same time the message was sent, the number of followers of Benedict’s@Pontifex accounts surpassed the 1 million mark, with all eight languages of the pope’s account combined.
While the @Pontifex English account remains the most popular, nearing 800,000 followers, the pope is tweeting simultaneously in Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, German, Polish and Arabic. Each language has its own handle, though they’re all the pope’s account: @Pontifex_es, for Spanish for example, @Pontifex_it for Italian, @Pontifex_fr for French, and so on.
The first papal tweet has been the subject of intense curiosity — as well as merciless jokes, criticism and commentary. “The pope has an iPad?” comedian Jon Stewart asked earlier this year. The Onion satirical newspaper ran a piece “Pope tweets picture of self with God.” And in perhaps a more long-term and problematic issue for the Vatican, the @Pontifex handle was flooded with negative messages from users remarking on the clerical sex abuse scandal.
Vatican officials have said they expected such negativity, but that is a risk they take by putting the Catholic Church’s message out.
“These are already all over the Internet, in newspapers, in so many forms of expression,” the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, editor of the Jesuit magazine “Civilta Cattolica,” told Vatican Radio this week. “They form part of ordinary communication.”
Benedict actually sent his first tweet over a year ago, using a generic Vatican account to launch the Holy See’s news information portal. Someone in his name tweeted daily during Lent, part of the Vatican’s efforts to increase the church presence in social media.
A personal Twitter account for Benedict has been the subject of speculation ever since the Vatican’s senior communications official said in February the idea was gaining traction.
Vatican officials have acknowledged the pope won’t actually type the messages and that someone in the Vatican’s secretariat of state will write them on his behalf.
The Vatican has insisted that the words are Benedict’s alone, culled from his speeches, homilies or catechism lessons.
As incongruous as it may seem for Benedict to be on Twitter, Vatican officials have stressed that he is merely walking in the footsteps of his predecessors in using the latest in communications technology to spread the faith.
Pope Pius XI, for example, caused a similar stir when he launched Vatican Radio some 80 years ago to bring the pope’s message on radio waves around the globe. The Vatican also has its own newspaper, television service and maintains dedicated YouTube channels and an Internet news portal.
VATICAN CITY —
By NICOLE WINFIELD
- Religion Feature
Men’s Fellowship Conference 2013
The Men’s Fellowship Conference is scheduled for Friday, April 12, through Saturday, April 2013. The theme of the conference is “Leave No Man Behind!”
Argentine Jorge Bergoglio elected Pope Francis
Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope Wednesday and chose the name Francis, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.
Looking stunned, Francis shyly waved to the crowd of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter’s Square, marveling that the cardinals needed to look to “the end of the earth” to find a bishop of Rome.
World Day of Prayer service held March 1
The United Methodist Women of Picayune First United Methodist Church hosted their annual World Day of Prayer Service and Luncheon on Friday, March 1.
Men and women of several faiths attended, and were joined throughout the world by others who came together with the common purpose of observing the importance of prayer. The guest speaker, Robin Smith Moody, a former member of FUMC, gave her testimony by sharing her witness and through her music. Robin is a member of Barn Church of Poplarville.
World Day of Prayer service set
The United Methodist Women (UMW) of First United Methodist Church of Picayune invite the public to attend a World Day of Prayer service and luncheon on Friday, March 1.
Robin Smith Moody, a former member of First Methodist, will be the speaker. She states that she and her husband, Buddy Moody, both know that God has called them to minister in Jesus’ name in their day-to-day lives.
Senior Living Chaplains help aging clients, over-stressed care givers
The recent U.S. Census Bureau report shows the U.S. population aging over the last ten years as Dallas-based Marketplace Chaplains has begun an innovative strategic service, Senior Living Chaplains.
A subsidiary of Marketplace Chaplains, Senior Living Chaplains care for the needs of clients nationally like Bickford Senior Living, Central Management Company, Diversicare Management Services, Touchstone Communities and EBY Development & Management Company, who serve the senior population and their caregivers.
‘Marriage Matters’ program strengthens relationships
Carey Robertson knows a little about a successful marriage.
The Executive Pastor at Resurrection Life Worship Center, who has been married for 58 years says, “You know, divorce is something that every family is affected by. Our state leads the nation per capita for divorces. We are number one in churches as well, so we have to ask ourselves ‘Are churches doing their job?’”
Last call, ya’ll!
This is The final call for articles and photos for
this year’s Pearl River County Today “Progress” edition. all churches and religious organizations can email their articles and photos to…
Jack Fowler at Unity of Gulfport this Sunday
Motivational speaker and New Thought musician, Jack Fowler will be performing at Unity of Gulfport this Sunday, Jan 27th for the 10:30 a.m. service.
Bishop Morin doing well after heart surgery
By Sun Herald/AP Exchange
Most Rev. Roger Morin, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi, was doing well Monday night after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery, officials with the diocese said.
Three-day Bible Conference at Trinity Outreach Ministry
From staff reports
Trinity Outreach Ministries, 502 Jarrell St. in Picayune, will host a three-day Bible Conference January 27-29, 2013.
Guest speaker will be Dr. Bill Morris. Morris will be speaking Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 11 a.m. and Monday and Tuesday, January 28-29 at 7 p.m.
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